I’ve shot and edited many wedding films before, always with the idea of creating the most memorable and professional video possible. Now that I’ve edited my own wedding video, my perspective has completely changed.
The day was June 27th, 2015. It was one of the best days of my life. (I don’t keep a running list of all the best days of my life unfortunately). I don’t actually remember a lot from the day- just that I felt complete joy. Basically, all of my memories of the day are contained in the wedding video.
I’m so glad I have the video that I can keep coming back to. If anyone reading this is getting married, you should definitely consider hiring a videographer. This is not a commercial for my own videography services. A wedding video is just a great thing to have.
I had my friends (Jordan Ousley and Nate Kuneman) film the day. And I would do the editing (which took 9+ months to finish…).
Here’s the video:
Editing the video was an extremely interesting process. I was seeing the wedding from the perspective of both the videographer AND the bride/groom client. My videographer side was trying to make the most polished, professional video possible. My bride/groom client side couldn’t stop getting emotional when looking at the footage.
I mean, how can you not get emotional when looking at this babe. 🙂
As the title of this blog post hinted, I learned quite a lot from the process of editing it. These lessons will hopefully be helpful to other videographers out there.
Make the video long
When editing other people’s videos, I have a tendency to favor quick cuts. I don’t want to make a boring video, so I try to give the video energy with quicker cuts. Usually the editing matches the beat of the music and each shot is only a couple of seconds long.
When editing MY video, I simply didn’t care how long each shot was. I noticed that I would see some quirky smile from my beautiful wife and want that smile to last forever. As a result, there are some shots in the video that go on much longer than normally would have. I edited around the actual content of the video, not some arbitrary rule on pacing or matching with the music.
To some videographers/editors, this may seem obvious, but to me it was a big wake up call.
Embrace the blurry video
This is the opposite of everything I’ve ever been taught or learned along the way. If it’s blurry, then you’re supposed to throw the shot out. I used to do exactly that- get rid of any shot that wasn’t completely in focus.
The problem is that when filming a wedding (or any event for that matter), there are times when you can’t get perfect focus. Quirky fun moments happen far too quickly. Sometimes you can’t even get the camera on in time. And unfortunately, it’s usually these spontaneous moments that make for the best moments in a video.
While editing the video, there was a clip of Jordan and I dancing (in a somewhat embarrassing but fun way). It was one of those spontaneous moments.
As you can see, the focus isn’t great on the shot. My filmmaker side told me I couldn’t use the shot, but my bride/groom client side loved it too much to get rid of it. I kept the shot in, and it’s now one of my favorite moments in the video.
There are several other examples of shots that are blurry that I kept in the video. AND I think they make the video much better. So I say ignore what everyone says and embrace those blurry shots (within reason).
Who cares about flowers/decorations?
I’ve seen a lot of wedding videos before. One thing a lot of them have in common (including the ones I made), is that the whole 1st minute of the video is just a bunch of beautiful shots of flowers and decorations. Maybe it’s just because I’m a guy, but I really don’t care about all of the decorations.
As filmmakers, it’s easy to get beautiful shots of the wedding location with all the perfect looking flowers and candles and landscaping and decorations. These shots make the video more cinematic and beautiful, but I would argue that the bride and groom don’t care about these shots nearly as much as the shots of people. I say this because this is exactly what was going through my head when I was editing my video.
I did include some of these “beauty” shots, but not nearly to the extent of what I would usually do.
If I want to see a pretty picture/video of flowers, I can simply google it. If I want video of my wife and I dancing, that’s much harder to come by.
Basically, it all comes down to paying more attention to the actual content of the story than the technical filmmaking. For something as personal as a wedding video, this is especially true. Bride/Grooms want something that is meaningful to them, not simply a beautiful piece of art.
This is something that I have always known, but never actually done. Until now.
I henceforth doth proclaim that I will keep blurry, ugly shots that are meaningful to the viewer. Why create something professional if no one cares about the content?
PS Let me know if you disagree with me in the comments.